Josh Young is a 30 year old 185cm guard playing his ninth professional season and third with SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL). Last season he played Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA playing 38 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 46.6%, FT: 69.6%. H ehas had a solid professional career and played three seasons in the easyCredit BBL with the Tigers Tuebinbgen and also sampled Pro A experience with Vechta and Nurnberg. As a rookie he played with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-ProB). Before turning professional, he played with Drake (NCAA) from 2006-201 playing a total of 126 NCAA games. germanhoops.com spoke to him recently about the successful Vechta season.
Josh thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how good is basketball life for you at the moment?
At the moment, I’m in Vechta and life is pretty good. I can’t complain.
You played the last four years in the Pro A. How do you feel has the easyCredit league changed in the last years on the court?
The league has grown tremendously. With all the games being shown on Magenta Sport, all the social media coverage, the level of the teams in the league, the BBL is making its mark as a top European basketball league.
If someone had told you in September of 2018 that Vechta would be in third place at the end of January 2019 what would you have thought?
I would have thought that’s a crazy prediction. When I looked at all the teams before the season, I didn’t think negatively about our chances, but I knew there were some great teams we would be competing with this year.
Congrats on the great season your having. Does it feel like a real Cinderella story or do you feel like as competitors you would be selling yourself short knowing the potential the team had.
Thank you. I’m not sure that anyone expected much from our group at the beginning of the season. Coming from the second league, usually means a middle to bottom of the pack season. But with this group, even from preseason we were always working for more.
The club began slowly losing it’s first three games, but since then have rattled off 12 wins in 14 games. Was a reason for the turn around just the normal bla bla of the team having to find each other in the early going or were the reasons for the turn around a lot deeper?
We were able to turn our season around through consistency. We merely just became better at the things that we were already doing, working on. With each win, our confidence grew. Now we are at a place where we are creating winning habits so that hopefully it can translate to the game.
You have found ways of wining in so many ways if it was through defensive battles, scoring shootouts or close wins which occurred three times. Half way through the season what do you feel is the teams biggest strength?
Our biggest strength at this point is that we are mentally all on the same page. We work hard in the week and when it’s gameday, all 11 of our guys are ready to go to war. It’s special.
You have celebrated some memorable wins in your career, but please explain where the victory against Alba Berlin ranks? How special was this day for the team?
That was a big day for the entire organization. We know that Alba plays at another level than we do but we also know that we have the opportunity to compete against great teams like that. I don’t know that anyone gave us a chance to win before the game. Not only was it special, it was shocking. And that’s a great feeling, to be able to prove people wrong when they doubt.
Years ago winning in Bamberg would have been unheard of, but even now it’s no easy task. What did it feel like winning in Freak City? How big was this win for the team?
That was a big turning point for us. It wasn’t that we won there but more so how we did it (tough defense, sharing the ball, playing smart). Bamberg is a good team so to be able to go there and steal one in their house felt great.
How huge in general was the win against Alba Berlin for the team mentality and self confidence? Do you feel like that win proved to the team that it can beat anyone?
The win against Alba was early in the season. We knew from the beginning of the season that if we commit to playing harder than other teams that we would have a chance to be in most games, but winning creates confidence. That game definitely catapulted our thinking to another level.
You have played against many talented kids and have seen Philipp Herkenhof and Luc Van Slooten develop, but just how raw is Franz Wagner at age 17? He didn’t do much against Vechta, but he has had some other really good games and even started games. Is this guy NBA material like his brother Moritz?
Franz is extremely talented. Alba does a great job developing their young talent and so I think he’s in great hands to push the boundaries of his potential. For sure he is a high level player when it’s all said and done.
Vechta averages 83 points per game and allows only 77 points per game which is third best. What has been the secret to the success on the defensive end?
Our secret to defensive success has been hard work. We work on our defense practically every day. And the way people see us play defense in games, is the exact same way we play it when nobody is there watching. We are creatures of habit. And Pedro has developed very strict defensive habits within our group.
How vital has head coach coach of the year candidate Pedro Calles been? How has he developed this season as a BBL head coach?
Pedro has been the biggest reason for the success of this club. From his ability to capture his players, to his coaching philosophy, to the way he approaches the game, he is the ultimate professional. Our guys love playing for him and as you can see, we play extremely hard under his leadership. It’s been cool to watch him grow as a head coach this season. I’m glad we are able to be apart it with him.
Let’s talk about your teammates. TJ Bray brought experience and a special fire that really capitulated his game to another level. He was always a solid professional player, but he really made the next step with Vechta. What do you believe has been the biggest reason for his success?
TJ is extremely intelligent and knows the game well. I think the combo of his skill set and our coaching staff putting him in situations to be successful attribute to how well he’s playing. He is an amazing passer, pick and roll player as well as shooter. He’s the engine of the team.
Even if there no super stars, American Austin Hollins has been that type of go to guy that has carried the team in his own way. How important has his leadership qualities been?
Austin is our scorer. That’s what he is great at and does with the best of them. We look for him to make plays for us and he continues to deliver this season. Also his length on the defensive end gives us a lot of steals. We aren’t the same team without him.
How important has the stellar play been of Seth Hinrichs this season? What has been his most important quality that has made the club better?
Seth is our all arounder. He can do a little bit of everything well and he has a high motor that we feed off of. He has come up big many times for us this season and is proving himself in the league.
How important was the pick up of Max DiLeo for the Vechta defense? How has he made an impact on the defensive end most that has helped the team most?
Max is our defensive leader. We take our cues from his hustle, intensity and aggressiveness. When you see how he is able to impact games through his defense, it’s quite impressive.
How cool is it being reunited with Tyrone Nash again. You guys were teammates from 2011-2014 early in your careers with Tuebingen. How has his game developed further in the last years?
I’ve known Ty for years, we are good friends off the court and also have a good chemistry when we play. It’s nice to see how his understanding of the game has expanded so much since the first time we played together. He plays well on both sides of the ball.
Let’s talk about your game. Your stats are up from last season, playing more minutes and have improved your free throw percentage. How content have you been with your play this season?
My play is a direct reflection of the amazing teammates I have as well as the system of Coach Calles. Anytime I can go out and help my team be successful, I’m content. And I have been able to do that this season.
You stated in our last interview that your constantly breaking down your own game film. Those things have helped you to become a better player over the years. What has been the most challenging thing on the court as your back in the BBL again after years in the Pro A?
The BBL is another level in terms of physicality and mental approach. I’ve had to become a much more cerebral player this season in order to be successful on the court.
In our last interview you stated saying that you saw your role being similar to last season in that you would be a leader on the court. What do you feel has been your most important input that you have given that has helped the team be so successful?
I tried to make sure that our guys understood from the beginning of the season that nothing would be given to us and if we were willing to go to war to gain our respect, we would do just that.
Your are aging like fine wine. Your 30 years old. When you see the Jena legends Allen, Mcelroy, and Jenkins or other legends like Quantez Robertson or Rickey Paulding, do they motivate you further to want to strive to play a long career?
I’ve been seeing those guys play at a high level for a long time. It’s definitely inspiring and motivating to me to continue playing as long as I have the ability, just as they are doing.
It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?
Absolutely. What he is doing already in his rookie season indicates that he is on the path to greatness.
What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?
I think when you are the greatest, you don’t have to tell the world, the world will tell you.
Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?
I think that Tom Brady is the goat in his sport just like Michael Jordan is in basketball. It’s difficult to compare the two. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Josh for the chat.